South Buttress

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 42.77920°N / 109.2247°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.6 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 8
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


This is the standard route of Pingora. The route is very popular and you can expect crowds on a typical summer weekend. There are a couple of variations to the route, including a 5.8 pitch near the top. But otherwise, it is sustained 5.6. This is a great route and very enjoyable climbing.

Getting There

See the main Pingora Peak page for instructions on getting to the trailhead and the Cirque of the Towers. From the southwest side of Lonesome Lake, head directly west up toward the south side of Pingora Peak along a climbers trail toward Cirque Lake. Once below the mountain, the faint trail will branch off to the right. Follow the cairns to the base of the mountain. Several sections of class 4 (cairned) will put you on the SW shoulder. From there, a short class 2 section brings you to the base of the route.

Route Description

Pitch 1: (Class 3) Scramble to a good ledge under a block ladder-looking formation.

Pitch 2: (5.6) Use blocky terrain and a crack to gain about 30 ft.

Pitch 3: (5.5) An easy crack gets you to a nice ledge below a chute. You can combine Pitch 1 and 2, but there will be rope drag.

Pitch 4: (5.6) Move up for 30-40 ft, then traverse right along a narrow ledge. Belay at the end of the ledge.

Pitch 5: (5.6) This is the longest pitch at around 130 ft. It's very important that you do not belay for this pitch inside the right-facing corner. Instead, belay on the narrow ledge at the top of pitch 4. There are loose rocks in the corner and if the leader pulls one off, the belayer will have no escape. At the top, belay a from a boulder on a big ledge.

Pitch 6: (Class 3) This is not really a pitch, but just a scramble to the next belay station. After the long right facing corner, scramble up to the ledge below the "K" crack. If doing the 5.8 version of the "K" proceed directly up the "K" and finish at a rap station. It's a scramble from there. If doing the 5.6 variation, down-climb about 10 ft. to the climber's left of the "K" crack to a small ledge. A rap station will be seen.

Pitch 7: (5.6) Climb the obvious crack about 120 ft. to a ledge.

Pitch 8: (Class 3) You can leave your ropes and gear here for the easy scramble to the summit. The first rap station for the descent is to the climber's right of this ledge and a short but exposed down-climb.

Descent: If you do the 5.6 variation at the "K", you will have to look hard for your first rap station. It is located on a ledge to the climber's right of the top of P7. It's actually about 10 ft below the ledge requiring a somewhat exposed downclimb to get to it. This rappel ends on the ledge at the class 3 section between 5 and 6. The second rap is at the number 6 in the photo and you will have to downclimb 10 ft to get to it. Do a double-rope rappel of about 160 ft to the ledge at belay station #3. You will have to angle your rope throw to the left (east) to accomplish this rappel. Also, beware of a large crack at the top of the long rappel which can snag your rope. From belay ledge #3, you can do two short rappels to the base or one long double-rope rappel to the base.

South Buttress (5.6)

Essential Gear

Two 60 meter ropes (recommend twin ropes); Cams to a #4 with doubles on the mid sizes; set of stoppers; several unsewn full runners, at least one extra long piece of webbing or cordelette.

External Links

Alan Ellis' Pingora Peak Trip Report



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.